It's been a week since the blizzard that rocked western South Dakota made streets un-drivable, destroyed trees, and took away power from thousands. Now it's time to clean up.
"You just grab a limb and pull," said Chad Camp. That's the work Camp has been doing all day in the overflow Civic Center parking lot, where people are dropping off their destroyed trees. "The pile is now four times the size it was, it just keeps getting bigger and it won't stop," said Camp.
Camp is on a missionary trip from Nebraska, donating his time to help clean up trees after the October blizzard. "Service is always a good thing, it makes you feel good ," said Camp.
Which is a good thing since people are making repeat visits with their tree debris. "I've met one guy that was done with his last load. Everyone is like well we've got 15 left, we've got five left," Camp laughed.
Paul Autiss was one of those guys. "We've made about five trips here so far. I suppose we'll have six or seven more trips to go," said Autiss.
Autiss says he's got five or six trees down around his house and clean up is not an overnight process. "We'll be doing it for the next couple weeks," said Autiss. But he's pleased with the drop off site, even if it is busy. "It's working really well. The way the lines are, there could be a little bit more, but it's working," said Autiss.
And the huge pile centered in the parking lot continues to grow, which was surprising to Autiss. "I wasn't expecting this at all, even when I drove around town see all the trees, the amount of trees that are down and the piles around town are incredible," said Autiss.
For Camp, he's seeing more than just a pile of damaged trees. "It's awesome to be here and to be a part of this because we get to see Rapid City coming closer together - people helping each other unload, load up their trucks, cut down each other's trees, it's awesome," said Camp.
The Emergency Operations Center has some safety tips for handling tree debris. Drivers need to slow down and be careful around crews working on roadways. And people need to stay away from partially fallen trees and down power lines. Remind children of these safety tips.